With gratitude by Shelley Hubal

We are all experiencing an unprecedented and challenging time. Like many others, I am working from home. My two college-aged children are now back in Vestal. We did a marathon eight-hour car ride last Friday to clear out their dorm rooms and bring them home for the remainder of the semester. Rae, my second adult child, was tearful. Josh, my oldest, is looking for how his days will be structured under the new reality with which we are living. 

I am asking myself, “Where do I begin in my communication with the Binghamton Jewish community?” I will start by sharing with you all some of the steps that I have taken to ensure the Federation continues its mission to support our families and organizations. Last week, I spent a lot of time cancelling events and making sure the Federation, Jewish Family Service and Reporter staffs have what they need to work from home. I have opened a Zoom account so the board can continue to meet and make decisions. After putting my heart and soul into preparing The Reporter trivia fund-raiser, the Film Fest, musical brunch and other upcoming events – carefully ensuring we have everything in place from security to food to volunteers – it became clear there was no choice but to cancel. This was not easy, but necessary.

There was a meeting last week with community rabbis and leaders to do a virtual Yom Hashoah event. Commemorating Yom Hashoah is important and we hope you all will join in. More information will forthcoming about this event.

Since last August, I have been working diligently to create a new Federation website. Its launch was supposed to be last week. After a few hiccups, and with the expert support of Dennis Foreman, we are now up and running. Please check us out at www.jfgb.org. I will be posting updates and resources. The calendar we have is changing every day, so be sure to use the community guide and check in with local Jewish organizations about cancellations and new virtual events.

Our social service organization, JFS, is here to serve. We know there will be a financial and emotional toll from this crisis for us all, but we suspect that our neighbors who were already struggling will be hit the hardest. JFS has funding and counseling to help those in dire need. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. We want to help. 

Last Thursday, Roy and Sandra Paston knocked on the window outside my office. They were enjoying some fresh air and I was so grateful to see them smiling and taking the time to say hello through the window! Cheers to them, it made my day! I hope you all are finding ways to cope, whether it is getting out for a walk, cleaning the closet that has been ignored for too long or taking this quiet time for self-reflection. My plan is to take it moment by moment, day by day. I am thinking of all the new and old friends I have made in this wonderful Jewish community. We may be apart, but we are all in this together. Please reach out, even if it is just to say hello. I am checking e-mail and the office phone, and very much looking forward to a day soon when we will be together again. 
I can be reached at 607-724-2332 or director@jfgb.org.